US Production More than Offsetting OPEC-led Supply Cuts

Oil falls as trade worries mount Saudi comments limit losses

Storage tanks are seen at Ecopetrol's Castilla oil rig platform in Castilla La NuevaMore

Crude oil prices plunged on Wednesday after the EIA reported a weekly build in crude oil inventories of 6.8 million barrels. Brent was last down $1.78, or 2.9 per cent, at $60.19 a barrel.

The price of crude oil had also run up quite a bit in the first few months of the year, with a 46% rise from January through late April.

Brent settled at $61.67 per barrel, gaining $1.04, while West Texas Intermediate settled at $52.59 per barrel, up 91 cents; both benchmarks rallied more than 2 percent in post-settlement trade.

Front-month Brent crude futures, the worldwide benchmark for oil prices, were at $60.50 at 0108 GMT.

Global economic growth took a dip late previous year but started to recover in early 2019, but analysts now warn that growth is threatened again.

A bear market is defined as a 20 per cent decline or more in relevant benchmark readings from a recent high.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told a conference in Russian Federation that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies should extend oil production cuts.

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"We could be looking at crude going down and testing some of the support levels" of the January lows, Marshall Steeves, energy markets analyst at Informa Economics in NY, said in an interview.

The rising dispute in the trade war between the USA and China is reflected in crude prices too.

"The addition of new US supply and its integration into the global market" would pose a "multi-year threat to the market share and revenues" of OPEC+ producers, Goldman Sachs noted. The price action suggests calm has returned to the markets after a little bit of a panic sell on Wednesday in reaction to an unexpected build in USA stockpiles.

On Friday, WTI crude oil prices finally edged higher, rising from the five-month lows it had touched over worsening market sentiment. The group plans to decide later this month or in early July whether to continue the supply curbs.

In earlier comments, the minister had said he was unwilling to engage in a race to boost oil output to compensate for lower prices, saying a return to the situation that led to the price crash of 2014-2015 would be unacceptable.

Therefore, the bank held that the high compliance of OPEC+ to supply cut and US sanctions that lowered production in Venezuela and Iran would lead to a faster drop in global oil supply than weaker demand over the last six month.

In the United States, energy firms this week reduced the oil rig count to the lowest since February 2018.

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